Adoptee to Adoptive Mother
Julie is an adoptee and Adoptive Mother. She was placed as an infant and adopted by the second family she was placed with. As an Adult, Julie and her Husband became Foster Parents and we’re Foster Parents for over 18 years. Julie and her husband have four biological children and 6 Adopted Children.
As an Adult Adoptee what are your personal feelings about Your Adoption?
As an adult adoptee my feelings about my adoption are simple and complex at the same time. Simple in that I’m thankful that my birth mother and her family chose to continue her pregnancy even though 59 years ago abortion wasn’t legal women still found a way.
I’m sure she was made to feel horrible about being unwed, young and pregnant. So in a way she is my hero. Complex because there will be information I will never have about my DNA that would be nice to have.
Is there anything would would change about your life growing up as a adopted child?
There is nothing I could change as I was a child along for the ride on my adoptive parents adult journey. I would have liked for my adoptive parents to stay married. Divorce sucked and was a huge loss. I believe that affected me more deeply than being adopted. I wish we had continued to live in the town I lived in while my parents were married. When my mom remarried we moved to a rougher town with fewer opportunities. Believe it or not, It’s more prejudice towards Hispanics than the primarily white community we had moved from. My mom and step dad were white with a very white last name. I am mixed race, Irish, Hispanic, Black with a Mexican last name . My mixed race was a issue.
How was your relationship growing up with your adoptive family? Is there any change today?
When my mom and dad were married the relationship was more idyllic, however I was a baby. Then we lived with my grandparents for a few years. Those years were the best. They were loving, consistent, kind and amazing. My mom, once she remarried, seemed to focus on her new relationship and trying to make her marriage work more than our relationship. However, we are vastly different people who differ greatly in physical appearance as well as strengths, talents and interests. This caused some mild conflicts as well as huge conflicts. I got married at age 20. Perhaps to some extent to escape the difficulty at home which i now know was a marriage imploding due to mental illness, addiction and of course because I deeply loved the man I married and I am still blessed to be married to him to this day.
My relationships with my adoptive parents has waxed and waned over the years. One thing I will say though is that I have ALWAYS loved them and cherished them. My adoptive dad died a few years ago. He was a functioning alcoholic, which believe me when I tell you is a completely different type of addiction than folks who can’t keep working because their addiction rules them day and night!
Did you seek out your biological family ? If so, what were your feelings on the reunion?
I did not seek out my bio family. I have thought of it over the course of my lifetime. But because it was so long ago and they sealed the files back then it would require more money than i have to spare. I did do the Ancestry.com thing. I found out i am not some ethnicities I was told for 55 years and identified with. And that i was ethnicities I didn’t know! They found a few cousins I contacted them they responded but nothing came of it. I am at this point in my life fairly at peace about it. The main reason to find them would be see if I resemble anyone and get medical history. The other thing I always wanted to know was did I have siblings!
What inspired you to become a foster parent?
I have a sister-in-law who was the director of Child Share many years ago. She and I are close. She mentioned foster care and said she thought we would be excellent foster parent. We were also open to adopt but not initially seeking adoption. We investigated it and thought we might have something to offer children who were coming from hard places. And we felt if given the opportunity we might be able to mentor the parents as well. As Christians we also felt led to be of service in this area. We love people we love kids we thought let’s do it!
What are the difficulties you face as a foster/adoptive parent?
This last question is whoa! We have four bio kids we refer to them as tummy babies. They were easy to raise. Some bumps along the way, an F in high school, snarky attitudes occasionally, stealing batteries from Kmart, and some drug use. All of which were handled by lovingly providing consequences and direction. Our daughter was a senior in college when she came to me and said i have a problem I need help. She had become addicted to cocaine. We immediately found a rehab . She has been clean since with a few bumps . But now totally sober and a mama!
Ok the adopted kids! Whoowee! They test every boundary, push every limit , do not use common sense or care to much about consequences. They have stretched my capacity to parent well to its limit! And beyond! Every tool I had in my tool box is thrown out! We have kids for whom school is just not in their daily planner! We have kids who while in school lose their sh$! and at 7y/o start raging in the classroom and tip over a desk, we have kids who are told clearly what the expectations are and the consequences for meeting the expectations and for choosing not to, kids who argue just to argue to hear themselves talk to get there brain juices flowing so they can enter into flight or fight which is their comfort zone! We have a kid who had leukemia while a fc with us whom we adopted. We have a kid who was diagnosed as mentally retarded who miraculously is about to graduate HighSchool with a 3.5 GPA with no special help! We also have a kid who ran away as a 18 year old to be with her boyfriend who we had allowed to live with us for the last 9 months. She dropped out of school and took off for 3 months. Nearly destroyed our marriage! It was brutal. She is back and thriving! We also have a child who got a partial scholarship for getting a 4.0 GPA. She is the first in her bio family to attend a 4 year college. These kids and all the foster children have stretched and grown me beyond my comfort zone! I would not change one minute of it not one. Well may a few minutes like when the child who rages was hitting me and overturning bookshelves o could definitely live my whole life without that.
And there you have it. Julie is very dedicated to her family. What better person to adopt a child then an Adoptee? Julie will be able to able to give her adopted children support and guidance. Sure there will be bumps in the road but that’s every family, right?